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The grammar of hermeneutics: Anthony C. Thistleton and the search for a unified theory

Knowles, Robert 2005. The grammar of hermeneutics: Anthony C. Thistleton and the search for a unified theory. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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A fresh engagement with the formative work of Anthony C. Thiselton demonstrates that this work constitutes a source of insights of great value for a programmatic construction towards a unified hermeneutical theory. Such a construction provides powerful keys for unlocking six contemporary problems in hermeneutics. First, it brings organisation to a disorganised discipline by identifying three distinct spheres or strata of hermeneutical reflection. Second, it brings clarification to a complex discipline by identifying seven distinct hermeneutical 'conversations' centred on 'dialogue', 'history', 'epistemology', 'language', (Western) 'culture', the human 'self', and 'understanding' (including the hermeneutical task). Third, it tackles the problem of abstraction in hermeneutics by bridging the gap between hermeneutical theory and practice. Fourth, it addresses the problem of disunity in hermeneutical theory on three levels: philosophical subtext, the removal of perennial philosophical and theological 'dualisms' or 'dichotomies', and the relative ontological priorities of 'history' and 'language'. Fifth, it addresses inter-disciplinary polarisation in hermeneutics by clarifying the relationship between theological and philosophical hermeneutics. Sixth, it strikes at the heart of irresponsibility in interpretation by answering the question of what constitutes 'responsible interpretation'. However, despite these six potential advances and Thiselton's world-ranking stature, no thorough engagement with Thiselton's work yet exists in the literature. What little engagement there has been manifests serious misunderstandings and misrepresentations of Thiselton's thinking. Conversely, the criticisms emerging that can legitimately be made of Thiselton are relatively minor. His critical stance towards the Continental hermeneutical tradition necessitates a clearer highlighting of the grammatical changes implicit in his continued use of Continental terminology. Thiselton also needs to dialogue further with epistemological traditions, with philosophies and models of selfhood, with major 'postmodern' thinkers, with pastoral theology and with theological anthropology. Finally, a more sophisticated hermeneutic of fallen human relationships is required to provide a better understanding of historical conditioning

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2016 23:14

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